Monday, March 12, 2012
International Night took place in Jesse Auditorium last Saturday. This year, about nine international student organizations participated in the event.
I really like the International Night. It is an event when one could meet with people of different cultural backgrounds. And most importantly, it provides a good outlet to showcase the various cultures on campus.
As the number of international students on campus increased significantly in recent years, diversity has been a heated topic. There are 29 registered cultural organizations in MU, according to the MU website. Asian students make up the majority of full-time international students, but their cultures don't seem to be understand by many American students. The various events on campus, like the International Welcome Party, provide people with a good opportunity to learn about their cultures. But, I wonder how effective those events are in reaching out to people and promoting diverse cultures on campus. After the show, I started to think how to effectively present traditional cultures to people of different cultural and racial backgrounds.
My answer to this is to showcase your own cultures with something engaging and relevant to your audience. I have never been appealed by some extremely traditional performances at International Night because I don't feel them interesting to me. However, if all the organizations present the same type of performance, say, pop music. I would feel bored and get mad because I don't want to go to International Night just to see the same kind of culture.
With that being said, I think some of the student organizations did a great job and set good examples that night by engaging the audience with their unique cultures.
The Vietnamese Student Association used their traditional bamboo dancing to interact with the audience. I remember I had tons of fun trying the bamboo dancing on the stage before. Inviting volunteers on the stage to play games is always a good way to show traditional cultures.
Story called "King Frog And The Rain God" by the Thai Student Association gave the International Night a very good ending. The play was based on the Thai-Lao myth. Thai students made this traditional story funny and engaging by adding humor into it. Some popular cultures, like iPad and angry birds, were also included in the show. The play was really a great success. I added the video in my blog post for people to see this awesome play.
As a student ambassador of the Chancellor's Diversity Initiative, I hope the school can create more engaging cultural events to help people understand such a variety of cultures on campus.